One of the hot topics discussed during the American Hereford Association’s Hereford Genetic Summit was the commercial cattle industry. More importantly, the value of Hereford genetics in breeding high quality feeder cattle.
Ten years ago Lorna Marshall, beef marketing manager for Genex, spoke to Hereford breeders at a similar conference about how the breed could become more commercial applicable. “The breed has done a great job in the last 10 years addressing some of the issues that drive our business, which would be offering calving ease genetics that have high accuracy. It has been really fun to watch how the breed has developed not only in their trend for calving ease and birth weight traits, but also in terms of creating some herd bender cattle. And that they have embraced the progeny test program that has made their cattle a lot more predictable.”
Lorna prides the breed for their execution and implementation. Breeders have utilized the tools provided to them, therefore improving their image in the commercial industry. A few hurdles she feels the breed still needs to be aware of is cow size and marbling. Interview with Lorna Marshall
Another speaker who focused on the commercial industries needs was Dr. Randall Raymond, director of research and vet services at Simplot Livestock. He said that it’s important to remember that not one breed needs to do it all. At Simplot they implement a three breed cross program. They use Hereford and Angus genetics to build their maternal cow herd and then they use a Charolais to create feeder cattle.
Randall also commented on traits that he feels the beef industry as a whole should focus on: mature cow size, fertility longevity and marbling. “I think those are opportunities for the Hereford breed to capitalize on. One of our biggest challenges in our operation is to make our cattle more moderate. Fertility is huge because our payday is calves. High fertility bulls can drive the profitability equation. As far as marbling is concerned, in our maternal programs we are really trying to create a solid base so we can come back with any terminal breed and have a foundation for century and carcass traits that we can take any direction.” Interview with Dr. Randall Raymond
You can listen and view Lorna and Randall’s presentations here.
Find all photos from the event here: Hereford Genetic Summit Photo Album.